As the coronavirus disease continues to spread throughout the United States and the world, employer compliance in the country face plenty of confusion when it comes to legal employment challenges as they take steps to further the goal and need to stop the spread of infection within their workforces.
Employers’ Compliance in the Face of a Pandemic
Whether it’s through Social distancing that can last for up to 18 months or laying people off entirely, businesses are having to rethink the way they operate in these times. And now that the coronavirus is considered a pandemic disease with the potential to spread to hundreds of millions of people, it’s posing a direct threat in workplaces and can potentially change the outlook on compliance under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As a communicable disease, coronavirus is raising the potential for employment law compliance issues related to wage and hour laws, OSHA, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and local and municipal paid sick leave laws. Company policies, practices, and contracts are being looked at to be considered alongside practicalities like continuing business operations with as little break in business as possible.
Local and regional businesses should use certain steps to avoid major risks when it comes to workers’ claims and can work with HR Consulting firms, such as Hilb Group, to keep employees healthy and protect their operations through these times and be prepared for life after coronavirus.
Preventative Workplace Behaviors
Employers should require that employees not come into work sick if they have not directed employees to work from home yet. Employers should also explain expectations of handwashing and coughing etiquette and be sure to distribute CDC posters and facts. Furthermore, employers are providing additional hand washing instructions, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer stations, and requesting employees to engage in social distancing.
Leave Administration Guidelines
Employers may face more difficult decisions when it comes to employees whose jobs are not suitable for telework. Employees who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk could be entitled to job-protected leave under state law or FMLA. Employers should also keep in mind whether to provide job protection to employees who are not ill but who seek leave to quarantine themselves after being exposed to the virus.
When an employee is required to self-quarantine but has no paid leave available, there will be questions that arise around the retention of exempt status, pay policies, and overall morale. Employers should proceed with caution before requiring an employee to take leave if they are not sick or have not traveled in recent weeks to areas where an outbreak is known.
Employers should also keep in mind that they may not only require employees to use paid sick leave if the reason for the absence is covered by a statute.
The Hilb Group
Deciding what coverage you need and what limits and deductibles make the most sense can be tricky. Founded in 2009, the Hilb Group has been helping clients to make sense of their options and make the smartest choices for their circumstances. Whether you need Warehouse Insurance or any other type of business or personal coverage, we encourage you to contact our friendly, experienced, and capable team today. Call us at (800) 776-3078 for a consultation.